Rjk983 wrote:I take this set of examples as a strength of the system, not a weakness.
This is a built in gross error check. If the words given are to help find someone lost in the Lake District but point to a square in Vietnam then it is obviously wrong.
Further down in the same article, there are examples of where this doesn't work.
He found that the algorithm behind W3W often gave similar-sounding words and plural versions of words for locations in close proximity, which could cause confusion.
So, for example, circle.goal.leader and circle.goals.leader are less than 1.2 miles (2km) apart along the River Thames.
Not exactly a gross error check then, is it? The research also cited (not in this article) that SAR have been sent to the wrong place in practice by this kind of thing.
Ok, “often” and “some” and then gives one example. Every single grid reference could be loused up and send the emergency services a few metres or tens of kilometres away.
I have many experiences on exercise and ops where people who have been trained in map reading and refreshed and tested every year get it wrong. Eastings then northings or northings then eastings? Electronic devices giving a 10 figure grid, what does the operator remove to turn it into a six figure grid? Don’t underestimate the ability of competent people to make mistakes under the pressure of an emergency. Let alone the amateur or occasional hill Walker who has maybe self taught map reading and not done it for a while. It isn’t rocket science and it is simple to get it right, up until the point when you get it wrong…
Personally I wouldn’t want to rely on w3w solely in an emergency, if you can get 3 words from your smart device then you can also get a GPS location or a grid ref, but it is an extra tool in the kit when the situation requires it. And used in combination with one of the others it can help confirm the locations are correct and the they haven’t become garbled in the transmission.
So I stand by my gross error check statement.